Traditional Irish Colcannon

Colcannon is a traditional Irish dish that combines potatoes, cabbage or kale, onion, basic cream/milk and butter. It is also a dish that at one point in time I might have turned my nose up to. Cabbage or kale? Really? Why would you ruin perfectly good mashed potatoes with cabbage? Oh my how I was wrong and I am so glad that I’ve come around to the wonderful world of cabbage. Truth be told, I’ve been on a bit of cabbage kick lately. I’ve finally realized just how flavorful and delicious it can be. (It’s that same cabbage kick that led me to using it for this colcannon, but it’s also delicious (and packed with nutrients) when you use kale instead.)

The flavor and deliciousness of cabbage really shines through in this colcannon recipe. What I like about this particular recipe is that the cabbage is sautéed with butter and onions instead of boiled like in many other recipes. That really enhances the richness of the entire dish, making this the perfect St. Patrick’s day meal side dish. I served mine alongside Beer Braised Beef with Onions (recipe to come!). The old saying about a perfect Irish meal being a six-pack and a potato was given new meaning with that combo!

Which reminds me, are you excited about St. Patrick’s day yet? Just 4 more days away! Do you have any St. Patrick’s day traditions?

 

 

Tangy Mustard Coleslaw

It seems like for the last few weeks I’ve seen Facebook status after Facebook status counting down the days until the end of school year. Friends that are teachers, parents and students… they’re all ready for summer! As far as school goes, I’m not quite as lucky. The BSN program I am in has classes that run through the summer. I could technically take it off, but I’d rather get my degree a few months earlier! Still, there are lots of things about summer that I am looking forward too. Warm (and hot!) weather, the tomato plants we have growing on our balcony, the abundance of in-season fruits, and of course summer BBQ type foods.

One of my top 10 favorite foods of all time is barbeque pulled pork. I can’t think of time when I was NOT in the mood (or easily swayed into the mood) for pulled pork. Especially after I discovered my new favorite rub and sauce last summer. And, to me, it’s not a proper pulled pork sandwich if there isn’t a fairly healthy heap of coleslaw on top.

I think there are a fair amount of people out there that think that they don’t like coleslaw. One of the biggest reasons I hear for people not liking it is the loads of mayonnaise that goes into many slaws. But people, there are LOADS of coleslaw recipes and many have little to no mayo. And to be honest, those are often the tangy kind that win my heart. Like this Tangy Mustard Cole Slaw.

The first time I made this recipe with the small amount of mayo it called for. This time I suspected since the amount was so small and the purpose was really to add just a hint of creaminess that I could replace it with Greek yogurt or sour cream and it would still work. And it did. If you think you don’t like coleslaw, give this one a try! It’s tangy and creamy and delicious, the perfect topper for a pulled pork sandwich!



Tangy Mustard Coleslaw


Ingredients
7 cups finely shredded cabbage, about 1/2 head (I like to use a combination of green and purple)
1/3 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
1/2 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt, sour cream, or reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Salt to taste

Directions
In a large bowl toss together the cabbage, red onion, and carrot.  In a glass liquid measuring cup, whisk together the vinegar, sugar, mustard, yogurt, black pepper, and red pepper. (Wait until just before serving to add the salt, otherwise it can pull the water out of the cabbage and make everything runny). Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to evenly coat. Cover and chill for at least 20 minutes before serving. Just before serving, add a sprinkle of salt to taste.

Adapted from Cooking Light June 2008, via My Recipes

Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

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If you’ve read this little blog for any amount of time over the past year you have probably noticed that I mention China a lot. That’s mostlybecause it seems like Jesse is always there. In 2011 he was there for a grand total of almost 6 months. That’s a lot of time apart. Of course I was happy to get to spend time in China with him last summer but it still seemed like we were apart so much. Now that we know he is going to spend a significant amount of time there again this year, I’m headed back!

This trip is going to be almost 2 months and I couldn’t be more excited. There are only a few weeks before I leave and I have been so busy getting ready for the trip.

With traveling to another country and living out of a hotel for 2 months I probably won’t be cooking much but don’t worry. Part of my getting ready for the trip has been making a plan and building a nice back-log of recipes and pictures so I can continue to post while I’m gone. I’m still deciding exactly how I want spread things out, but I will have recipes to post and I’ll also probably be doing a weekly recap of foodie finds and exciting sites in China. I may have other tricks up my sleeve, but you’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

I know the food is what really makes a food blog, but I hope you’ll stick with me as I work my way through this craziness. In the meantime I bring you Shanghai Style Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage to celebrate my traveling to Shanghai.

This recipe jumped right out at me as I was flipping through last months Food & Wine Magazine. Of course I was immediately drawn to the name and the picture sealed the deal for me. The ingredient list might not look that exciting and you may wonder if you should tweak it and make some additions. Trust me, it doesn’t need a load of garlic or dash of ginger. It’s one of those “less is more” kind of things. The pork is juicy, the mushrooms are savory, the cabbage is a little tangy, and it’s all brought together nicely with a simple sauce.


Shanghai Stir-Fried Pork and Cabbage

Ingredients
3/4 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed of fat
8 dried shitake mushrooms
2 tsp corn starch
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 cup peanut oil
Kosher salt
1 pound Napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, cored, and cut into thin strips
Cooked rice and Red Chile Sauce for serving

Directions
Place the pork loin in the freezer for 15 minutes to make cutting easier.

While the pork is in the freezer, reconstitute the shitake mushrooms by covering with boiling water and letting stand for 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms from the water and press out the water. Remove stems and cut mushroom caps into strips. Set aside on a paper towel.

In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch, rice vinegar, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, pepper and sugar. Remove the pork from the freezer and cut into 1/4″ slices. Stack the slices on top of each other and cut into 1/4″ strips. Place the strips of pork in the sauce and stir to evenly coat.

Heat 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat until the oil just starts to smoke. Using tongs, carefully add the pork strips to the hot oil. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the pork is no longer pink and the edges just start to turn golden brown, using tongs to stir the pork to evenly cook . Remove the pork from the wok and set aside on a paper towel.

Add another tablespoon of oil and a pinch of kosher salt to the wok and allow to heat for about a minute. To the wok, add the shitake mushrooms and half of the cabbage. Stir-fry over high heat until the cabbage has wilted. Return the pork to the pan and add the other half of the cabbage. Cook just until the cabbage is tender, but not completely wilted.

Serve with rice and red chile sauce (I was so hungry I forgot to add the sauce and get a picture, don’t be like me, don’t forget the red chile sauce!).

Source: Food & Wine Magazine, January 2012

Spicy Slaw

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Today is a follow up on yesterdays Asian Braised Short Ribs. I have no story to share but I definitely wanted you know about this awesome slaw. It was spicy. It was savory. It was nutty. It was awesome. I used to be pretty precise when it came to eating, I would work from one area of the plate to the other, being careful not mix. But lately I’ve found myself doing a lot more mixing. And this was perfect for that. I channeled my inner BBQ tastes and put the slaw right on top of the ribs and rice. It was the perfect matchup.

Spicy Slaw
(Adapted from Oishii originally from the Sriracha Cookbook)

Ingredients

Dressing
1/3 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
1/4 cup Sriracha
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS. fish sauce
1 TBS. grated ginger
2 TBS. sugar

Slaw
1 1/2 lbs. napa cabbage, shredded
1/2 lb. red cabbage, shredded
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
or 1 bag of slaw with green cabbage, red cabbage, and carrots
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
6 green onions, white part only, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint (I omitted)
salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a large liquid measuring cup, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Cover and chill until ready to use.

In a large serving bowl combine the cabbage through mint. Toss together to evenly distribute.

Pour the dressing over the slaw and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve.